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Universities giving students a voice in deregulation debate

Student equity and employability in the context of the deregulation debate will be the focus of the Australian Technology Network of Universities (ATN) annual conference in Melbourne at RMIT today.

“Our philosophy is about putting students first, and students will participate as panellists throughout the day to ensure their views are clearly heard” said Executive Director, Renee Hindmarsh.

The conference will also have a strong emphasis on industry-linked research, an area of strength for the ATN. This is consistent with ATN focusing on fashioning graduates that are prepared for the challenges of the future workforce.

“The ATN has a great story to tell when it comes to industry / university collaboration. For example, the ATN established Australia’s first Industry Doctoral Training Centre to prepare researchers for a career with industry as well as academia,” said Ms Hindmarsh.

The ATN Industry Doctoral Training Centre (IDTC) model is the embodiment of the principles enshrined in the Government’s Boosting the Commercial Returns from Research Discussion Paper. The IDTC will be represented at a student and Director level in a session that explores the themes of research commercialisation.

Industry partners are also participating in the conference, notably Hewlett Packard and members of our ATN Research and Industry Advisory (ARIA) Board.

Our keynote speaker will be Chris Millward, Director of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) who will provide his insights where Australian research funding policy might be headed based on the experiences in the UK with the Research Excellence Framework.

More than a quarter of all international students in Australia are taught at an ATN institution, so we will also be focusing on international differentiation and what makes our ATN universities stand out in a very competitive international environment.